Can employers screen employees for COVID-19 by taking employees’ temperatures?

Yes.  Generally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit employers from requiring employees to undergo medical examinations unless the examinations are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” However, the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing recently issued guidance entitled DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19 stating: “Generally, measuring an employee’s body temperature is a medical examination that may only be performed under limited circumstances.  However, based on current CDC and local public health information and guidance, employers may measure employees’ body temperature for the limited purpose of evaluating the risk that employee’s presence poses to others in the workplace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” According to guidance issued by the EEOC entitled What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19, the EEOC provides, “measuring an employee’s body temperature is a medical examination.  Because the CDC and state/local health authorities have acknowledged community spread of COVID-19 and issued attendant precautions, employers may measure employees’ body temperature.  However, employers should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.”

How should employers take employees’ temperatures?

Testing should be administered in the least invasive way possible, like utilizing temperature scanners or forehead temperatures.  If a medical professional or person with medical training is available, have them administer the temperatures.  If somebody with medical training is not available or onsite, the company should consider whether managers within the organization may be trained to administer and read whatever testing mechanism the company uses.  Finally, testing should be administered based on legitimate and nondiscriminatory business needs.

Do employers need employees’ consent or to provide any disclosures before taking their temperatures?

Employers do not need to obtain written consent to take employees’ temperatures during a pandemic if the test is not invasive.  However, in California, employees of businesses covered by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) may be entitled to a disclosure called a “Notice at Collection.”  This Notice must describe at the time of collection, what information is being collected (body temperature) and the purpose(s) for which the information will be used (to maintain a safe work environment).  This may be done through a general notice to all employees or by posting a disclosure at the site where temperatures are being taken.

How should employers treat information it may collect about employees’ test results or condition?

Several state data breach statutes and privacy laws require personally identifiable medical information be secured from unauthorized access or breach.  This would include an employee’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with medical information which could include results from temperature tests, questions/answers about employee’s taste/smell, testing for the virus, doctor’s notes, or similar information.  In California under the CCPA, if this information is breached, employees may be entitled to statutory damages ranging from $100-750.  First, consider whether it is necessary to record the data for normal temperatures.  If recording is necessary, consider minimizing the data elements collected when recording temperatures.  If all temperature checks are recorded, only record last name of employee and temperature, rather than first and last name.  If the results suggest the individual may be infected and will be sent home as a result, make sure you clearly document the results of the examination and treat the record as an employment medical record.  Data retained that reflects employee’s medical information should be encrypted and only accessible to key personnel who have a need to access such data.

Many businesses don’t realize what reopening after a pandemic means but the requirements can be overwhelming. Not only do you need a continuous supply of products like swabs, thermometers, wipes, sanitizer, wrist bands, alcohol, computers, etc, but you need staff to work as line managers, temperature readers, and data entry personnel, either hired by you or employees from your own staff, to work in close proximity with potentially infected individuals that may put everyone They come in contact with at risk. For this reason, companies are hiring professional temperature screening services to work long hours every day to screen employees or customers for illness in order to provide a safe environment. Seems like a lot of work and expense to go through when in this day and age shouldn’t there Be a smarter way to screen individuals without risking close contact, and in a way that logs data automatically?

Fortunaty there is a simple automated solution that is affordable and makes use of the latest technology to provide hassle-free screening without the headache. In fact, automated temperature screening is effortless and creates a safe trusted environment that eases the tension, fear, and anxiety people often feel after a pandemic. 

Introducing our Automated Pass Management Temperature Screening Device. This device requires no physical interaction. Simply look at the camera and get the temperature in 1 second. Facial recognition checks-in and maintains records of the individual temperatures. Designed to help protect the health and safety of both employees and guests by preventing anyone with a temperature from entering a facility. it’s the perfect solution for office buildings, warehouses, schools, government buildings, museums, sports arenas, theme parks, movie theaters, gyms, rail stations, hotels, restaurants, or practically any public venue.

Protect your employees and customers with minimal distraction and effort.

TempSafe technology makes temperature screening easy. Explore our site to learn more about our Temperature Screening products.